Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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School maxi operators plan disruption soon
Some 30,000 school children between Manzanilla and Cedros will be affected as Maxi Taxi School Transport drivers are planning to go on strike as early as next week. The Maxi Taxi School Transport system was introduced by the PTSC in 1989 after the school bus system collapsed. Yesterday, members of the Association of Maxi Taxi School Transport Concessionaires protested outside the Ministry of Education’s head office at Alexandra Avenue, St Clair, Port of Spain.
The drivers held placards and shouted, “Fair and just right now” and “23 years-70 cents.” President of the association Rodney Ramlogan said in 2009 the drivers were given a 70 cent per seat increase. He said members were now asking for an increase of $2.00 per seat because there have been increases in the prices of spare parts, accessories, insurance, labour costs and maxi-taxis. He said current rate per head is between $3.70 and $5.70 for long distances.
Ramlogan said approximately 350 drivers transport students from catchment areas in Icacos, Toco/Matelot and Blanchisseuse. “We were here on August 25 and we had a peaceful protest. He (Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh) promised it would come to a resolution in a month or some form of agreement,” he said. Ramlogan said eight weeks have passed and there was no response from Gopeesingh’s ministry.
“This is the kind of style the ministry is operating with us. That is why we always have to come back here and protest. We are thinking seriously about having disruptions as soon as next week. They need to come to a form of resolution with this matter. This is our last resort and this is what the government or the ministry of education wants us to do because they are not taking us on.” “I guess the students are going to be stranded because that is what they want us to do.”
Ramlogan said the drivers have mortgages and bills to pay. “To the ministry of education we might be a secret for the service we have been providing,” he said. Attempts to contact Gopeesingh proved futile.
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